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Musings and Rumblings

The customer queues on weekends were consistently long on previous occasions when I came across this dessert joint. The operators offered an array of Taiwanese-styled concoctions in Sydney's Chinatown, obviously standing out amongst the variety of food, snacks and dining experiences. I wondered what made people wait patiently for the stuff offered inside. I do enjoy a cuppa of hot smoked tea, but not so much the tapioca filled pearls in bubble tea choices that this place seemed to thrive on.

The cafe had a series of short steps before you arrived at its sales counter and limited sitting area. On a rainy day, I chanced upon these same steps without anyone waiting on them. I walked in and with a relish, ordered a red bean based dessert with piping hot tea. I had expectations. My opinion, on actually being able to taste two representative products from this place, fell short of those built up perceptions - but they were still okay and did keep me warm, whilst watching the version of the London Eye through the cafe's rain-blury windows. I reflected, building up hype in a business may be useful in the short term, but as in any thing in life, it is necessary to follow up strongly in reality and consistent delivery.

An elderly lady, though with a walking stick, was steadily making her way to the entrance of the Bankstown Sports Club, located in Sydney's south-west. She offered me a smile when I opened the manual entrance doors to let her come in first. I noted her enthusiasm as she approached the club with an obvious intent - there was no doubt she was going to spend an enjoyable afternoon there. The thought crossed me, how we spend our precious time is up to us, with family, mates or by ourselves, for we can never get it back.

At a Chatime outlet in a busy suburb just outside Sydney's CBD, I ordered red beans with cold bubble tea, an apparent new choice from this chain. The female staff member at the counter asked me if I wanted sugar and ice with my drink, and I said no to both. It was interesting, when she asked further, if I had taken bubble tea without sugar before. It struck me for a moment that perhaps the Chatime products all had to be taken with additional sugar.
I concluded that perhaps more importantly, this reflected quality staff training in customer engagement. Surprise a client and show that you care as well.

I was struck how relatively quiet the main strip of Caringbah was on this Friday night. I already had felt the vibes of an emerging retail slowdown in Australia for several months now.
Caringbah lies at the heart of Sutherland Shire, to Sydney's south. A group of mates and I had pizza and pasta at Antonio's, which was not as packed with diners as I had hoped. We adjourned to the home of the Cronulla NRL team, the Sharkies. It was even more quiet inside.
The coffee and alcohol drinks were good, the young staff were busy removing furniture and the Dragons had lost to the West Tigers. The world's share markets had taken a significant dive that day. Life goes on, but life, fortune and sports can be in a cycle - and we must be prepared to ride the waves over not so positive times and make opportunity from it all.

I was enjoying my summery dish of black mussels with bread on a rather amazing blue-sky day in the middle of the so-called Wollongong winter. My Sydney guest could not believe what a lifestyle the lunch place was located in. We could hear the roar of the waves, see the deep blue of the ocean and sense the buzz of laid back enjoyment. Not as much money could be made here, and people who made money elsewhere spent them here. Choices are important - make them and we are offered different pathways of experience, preserverance and reward.


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The cafe harks back to the seventies or eighties - and maybe earlier - what caught my eye were (above) freshly blended fruit and/or vegetable juices and (below) metal and plastic contraptions of the food trade.

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